I still can’t believe that we topped 60 degrees today.  The sun was shining and it was so nice outside.  After nap time, we decided to play outside.  Sally loved riding her trike.


After we pumped up Nick’s tires, we headed out.


Before we got too far, Sally decided to walk.  She was also cold, so I let her wear my hat.  As we approached the park, we also saw our only snow of the trip.  The city used to put up a snow fence along the fields.  We walked through the wet mud and pushed the bike to the park.


Sally really wanted to swing.  I love her smile!


Water, water, everywhere!


We didn’t stay too long, the sun went away and the kids were getting tired.  We headed home.  We crossed the street to avoid the snowy part of the sidewalk.


It was so nice to be out the fresh air.  Hopefully, everyone will sleep good tonight.

 Posted by at 5:07 PM

I recently signed up for group personal training.  We have a group of 2.  We met with Jen, our trainer on Thursday.  I had the best workout ever!

First, the workout was one full hour.  In the past, all of my trainer workouts have been 30 minute sessions.  I was always given the advice that 2 thirty minute session would be better than 1 hour long session.

Before the session began, I warmed up on the elliptical for 10 minutes.

2 sets of the following:

  • -Squatting jumping jacks x 25
  • -Walking lunges w/ weight in 1 hand x 10lb the first set, 15lb the second
  • -step ups x 1min w/ 10lb weight (using a standard step that you’d see in step class)
  • -Single Leg Deadlift w/ 2x10lb DB x 15ea leg
  • -Shoulder Retraction w/ 15lb x 20
  • -push press w/ 18lb bar x 30
  • -isometric front/lateral raises w/ 3lb x 20ea
  • -isometric oh press w/ 8 & 12lb x 20ea
  • -punching back extension w/ 5lb x 4×12
  • -bench plank w/ front arm raises x :45
  • -tricep pull down drop set w/ 60-10lb x 12ea
  • -cable bicep curl drop set w/ 50-20lb x 12ea

My partner in crime is extremely motivating.    I usually marched in place in between exercises.  My partner in crime jumped around and cheered whenever she was waiting for me to finish something.

Our trainer was terrific at pushing us both and kept us going strong for the full hour.  I can’t wait until Thursday’s workout.  Now, I just need to fit another strength training workout into my schedule.


A couple of weeks ago, my sister from Maryland was in town.  I offered to take care of the kids while she visited Great Lakes Brewery and Melt with my brother and a friend.

I had just enjoyed a great brunch at Lucky’s Café and was all ready for their arrival.  I had planned numerous activities, knowing that everyone would have a great time if I kept them all busy.  Nick and Sally would be skipping naps and that’s always like playing Russian Roulette.

First up was playing with snow. Once again we brought in snow from outside and everyone had a blast playing with it in the comfort of our home.  I had purchased some straw construction kits on clearance and they went well with the snow.


At some point, I decided that red hot candies might make good smiles.  Sally was eager to try them out.  We already had Cheerios out for the eyes.


If you give kids Cheerios, red hot candies and snow, you may wind up with gross looking pink mushy water.  It still cleans up easily.


After playing with the snow, it was time for a break.  Everyone enjoyed Wallace and Gromit along with some popcorn.  I tried out microwave popcorn in a brown bag.  It turned out fine.  One of the Muppet Movies made an appearance as well.  While they cleaned up, I sopped up the melted snow with an ultra absorbent cloth and caught up on the dishes.


After the movie time, we had more craft time.  This time we had play dough, coloring books, sticky sticks, and rocket designing.


My niece was more interested in Stephen’s project to remove our magnet locks from our cupboards.  She ended up using the screwdriver and taking most of them off for us.


I’m glad everyone had such a great time.  The cousins don’t get together too often, but we are looking forward to more time with them this summer.


When we were having breakfast this morning it was snowing.  We decided to take advantage of the weather and bundled up for a walk.  I love walks when it is snowing!


We didn’t get a ton of snow.  The roads were clear, but the sidewalks were snowy.  Some had a nice layer of ice underneath.


Before long, everything was snowy, especially our scarves.  Nick and Sally decided that they liked catching snowflakes on their tongues and eating snow.  Nick was carrying a stick and using it to pick up chunks of snow to eat.  It looked kind of like eating a marshmallow from a campfire off the stick.


We ended up walking just over a half mile.  Nick was doing just fine, but started to get really cold when we turned into the wind.  He was having fun walking ahead.  Sally was really tired and wanted to be carried.  She started falling down.  Her ploy didn’t work as we made her walk the whole way.


It was so nice to have some family time outside before there was too much hustle and bustle on the roads.  I’m glad we made sure to enjoy it snowing out, since it’s supposed to be 46 degrees by Tuesday.  This had been the craziest winter!


On Wednesday, I met up with my friend Kelly to try our hand at making pierogies.  Dough, filling, technique and patience are needed to make them.

Kelly made two potato based fillings for us to try.  One was potato and caramelized onion and the other was potato and cream cheese.  We quickly learned that 10 pounds of potatoes made into filling is way too much for your average night of pierogi making.

We tried 3 different dough recipes.  The first 2 I made early in the day and let rest in the fridge.

Dough #1

  • @ 2 cups local spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1 local egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup local butter, chopped into pieces and softened

Mix flour and salt.  Add beaten egg.  Add sour cream and butter.  Work dough until it’s not sticky.  I basically kneaded it on a floured surface.  I added more flour as needed.  It took about 5 minutes.  I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerated it for a few hours.  This recipe is supposed to make about a dozen.  I think we got a few more than that out of the recipe.

Dough #2

  • @ 3 1/2 cups local spelt flour
  • 2 local eggs
  • 5 tablespoons local plain yogurt
  • @ 1/2 cup water

Combine until dough forms, adding more water if necessary.  Knead on floured surface to stretch the dough.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Dough #3 was Martha Stewart’s recipe.  We made this one after working with the first two doughs.  We substituted spelt flour and used vanilla yogurt instead of sour cream.  We put it in the fridge for 20 minutes before using.  In hind sight, we should have made this dough and then worked with the other doughs while it rested.

We tried using a pasta maker to roll the dough.  We decided that it was going to take way too long.  So, we got out a rolling pin.  We rolled the dough and used a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to make the circles.  We were going to try an empanada press, but decided that it looked too big.


We took turns rolling, cutting, filling, and crimping shut with a fork (with a bit of water on the seal).


It was hard to roll the dough to a consistent thickness.  They don’t take near as much filling as you would think.  Some looked better than others when they were done.


We lined them up on parchment paper and started them freezing.

Pierogies are typically boiled until they float and then finished off in a pan with butter and onions.  Many serve them with sour cream.

We had pierogies for dinner tonight.  I tried a cream cheese / potato stuffed one made from dough #1.  It was delicious.  For our actual dinner, everyone had onion / potato stuffed dough #2.  I definitely did not care for this dough.  It seems too thick and tough.  Stephen said that the dish was good, but it wasn’t the type of dough that he would expect in a pierogie.  Nick thought the dough was great.   Sally ate 3 of them, so she liked them too.  I think both fillings could use a little more flavor.  Next time, I think some added herbs are in order.  I still haven’t tried the 3rd dough yet, but plan to try it over the weekend.  I still have a couple of other recipes for dough to try out over the next few weeks as well.

Ideally, I’ll find a recipe that is spelt or wheat based and uses yogurt or milk instead of sour cream.  I’ll also need to work on my technique for consistency.  I think the possibilities are endless and this could become a nice item to make out of real ingredients and have ready in the freezer for busy nights.


Tonight, we had the second Biggest Loser workout at the J.  This is the 3rd year that the J has had the contest, but this is the first year that more departments other than the Total Fitness Center are involved.  This workout was in the pool.

27 participants showed up for the workout.  I thought that was a great number to have.  There were two instructors, Bobbie and Adam who are both trained water aerobics instructors.  There were 3 lanes open and I felt like we had plenty of room.

The water was super cold.  On Tuesday, it was warm, so I was quite surprised with the temperature.  We started with a few announcements and introductions and quickly moved into the warm up.  The warm up was all done in a big circle.  I hated that part.  We tossed a few balls around, jogged in a circle, skipped in a circle, etc.  It was challenging to get caught in the current in the deep end.  For the most part, I felt crammed and didn’t like that we couldn’t see or hear the instructor for much of the warm up part.

Once the warm up was complete, we received the heavier water dumbbells and began a circuit workout.  The circuit included about 10 different exercises.  We did each of them for 1 minute and then repeated the circuit 2 additional times.

The circuit included exercises such as jumping jacks, frog jumps, cross-country skiing, seal jumps, rocking horse, etc..

One challenge that I have is knowing the modifications to make the exercises harder.  For the most part, I know that it’s more challenging to do them faster, without touching the bottom, etc..  I’m thinking of doing a personal training session in the pool to learn more about intensity when using the water.  When I workout in the water, I am tired when I am done, but I don’t feel sore or fatigued in the same manner as a land workout.  I’m glad that I include it in my weekly workout mix.

Back in college, I used to swim laps.  I have swam a mile before.  I’d love to get back into lap swimming.  I’m not sure the best way to approach it since the pool at the J is usually pretty busy and I’m sure I’ll need to brush up on my strokes and pool etiquette.

I had about 2 hours of workout out today, and I’m beat.  I’ll be sore tomorrow, but in a good way.


I recently found out that an acquaintance of mine has breast cancer.  She noticed a lump and a week later it was the size of a golf ball.  The doctors didn’t bother with a biopsy, they just removed it.  Now, she is preparing for a double mastectomy.  She’s 21 years old!

When I hear things like this, it really makes me think hard about how I live my life.  You never know if you are going to get a tomorrow or what you may be faced with tomorrow.  I’m also reminded of the book “Eat That Frog” that I have been reading.  It’s all about tackling the hard stuff and things that matter most.

I’m glad that I get regular physicals and keep tabs on my health.  I do self exams and have had a couple of mammograms.  Except for my weight, I’m in great health.  I’m working on the weight and have been making plans for more healthy eating and exercise.

Live your life to the fullest everyday!

 Posted by at 10:23 PM

Last week, I was at the pool with Sally.  She’s been very interested in swimming since Nick’s taking lessons.  She didn’t even last 5 minutes in the water, but she was so excited to be doing what her brother does.

I ran into one of the lifeguards as we were leaving and she let me know that I needed a new bathing suit.  I was getting worn through from the chlorine in the back.  I thanked her for letting me know.  She said that she feels that its her job to let people know.  I’m glad it sounded like she let someone know everyday.  I never really analyzed my suit before.  I was so self conscious about it after she mentioned it that I threw it away before I left the gym that day.

I knew I had a spare suit at home, so I wasn’t in a hurry to buy another one.  I like having more than one suit, so today I decided to do some shopping.

I spent about 20 minutes shopping on line.  I visited several websites looking for your basic one color, one piece plus size suit that would be appropriate for my water aerobics classes.  One website had an automatic pop up window that offered me an extra 5% discount if I bought the suit on the page.  It popped up every time that I looked up at suit for that website.

I left for a few hours this evening and came back to the computer a few minutes ago.  I still have a few windows open with suits that I am considering.  I was just checking my blog reader and opened a few blogs to read.  There are ads on 2 different blogs for the same swim suits that I was looking at earlier today.  I know that our motions are tracked on the internet.  I am careful to look at legit things.  But, it was very creepy to see myself being targeted.  It kind of makes me want to buy from the company for having good marketing and not buy from them for being creepy at the same time.

Remember, Big Brother is watching!


Stephen and I have always been a fan of Iron Chef America.  We have watched it for a long time.  We enjoyed watching The Next Iron Chef for the last couple of seasons as well.  It was extra fun watching Michael Symon win.  When I heard that Jonathon Sawyer was going to be on Iron Chef yesterday, I knew I wanted to watch it.  Usually, we DVR the show and watch when it’s convenient, but I didn’t want a spoiler.

Shortly after I heard he’s be on the show, I heard about the watch party at The Greenhouse Tavern.  Before I could ask Stephen out on a date to watch and find a sitter, it was sold out.  I was bummed, but knew we could watch the show at home.

Shortly after finding out about the sell out, I read at Chef’s Widow that a second watch party would be happening at NoodleCat.  I registered for the event and then confirmed with our sitter and Stephen.  We ended up going to the watch party last night, even though we were both exhausted from the week.

We are so glad that we went!  We parked in a lot on Prospect and walked over to the restaurant.  Noodlecat is located close to The Greenhouse Tavern, so it would be easy for the Chef to visit at both parties.

We were greeted at the tour and told we could sit anywhere.  80 seats were sold and they expected a full house.  This Tweet memo was at our table.  I was glad they had Wifi so I could try out my tablet.


We arrived just after 9PM.  They were offering a limited menu and we ordered a couple of sodas and BBQ Ohio Pork Belly Buns.


There was also a contest to guess the secret ingredient.  I guessed apples.  It was not correct.  No one guessed MINT, so the contest turned into a random drawing.

There was also a TV set up with one of the playoff games and a large screen running the Twitter Feed.  Chef Sawyer and his sous chefs walked back and forth from The Greenhouse Tavern during the show.  It was fun to see all of the positive energy.

Once the show started and the ingredient was named, we were given these.


Throughout the show, we were given a variety of appetizers to enjoy on the house.  They were all fabulous.  We had a fritter course, a salad course, and a chicken wing course.  At the end of the show, we sampled the Stoner Sandwich.

My photos didn’t turn out so great since there wasn’t much lighting.  Here’s the crew just after the verdict on the show.  Chef Sawyer is the one clapping in front.  He didn’t win, but he did Cleveland proud.  Chef Sawyer is a class act.


We had a great time and are so glad we stayed up late to go out on a work night.  I’m even more excited to try The Greenhouse Tavern soon.


Today, we went to a birthday party at The Little Gym.  We had never been there before, so we were anxious to try it.  Nick had seen ads for them on PBS, so he thought he knew all about it.


The party was from 3:00PM until 4:30PM.  It was nice to have a defined beginning and end.  There were two party leaders that led the kids in some group activities and then supervised the free play times.


Sally really liked thee bars.  She also enjoyed the non-gym area for a bit.


Nick is getting much better at paying attention.  Sally tried out the balance beam.  This one was about 8 inches wide.  I think the competition ones are 4 inches.


Here’s an action shot of them playing race car.


After about an hour of playing, the kids gathered at the tables for snacks and cake.


Later at home, they took a look at items from their goodie bags.


We had a great time!  Now, I need to figure out what to do for Nick’s birthday soon.  It’s hard to believe it’s right around the corner.

 Posted by at 7:18 PM